Tue 29 Sep 2020

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Vocational courses for youth rehabilitation and integration into northern Syria’s labor market

One of the training courses of the "Ataa Humanitarian Relief Association" (The association's Facebook account)

One of the training courses of the "Ataa Humanitarian Relief Association" (The association's Facebook account)

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Enab Baladi – Idlib

“I studied until the final year of high school, and because of displacement conditions, I worked in many professions, including farming. Then I decided to take a vocational course on electrical wiring, that I heard of before.”

Khaled al-Issa, a trainee in one of the projects launched by the “Ataa Humanitarian Relief Association” in Idlib province, told Enab Baladi, “I was encouraged to join the course because I had an experience in the electrical field, and I wanted to develop it. Besides, this specialization is currently on-demand with hopes that power will be restored to the region.”

Al-Issa hopes to find work related to the experience acquired through the course or to be able to start his private project.

He also hopes to finish the six-month course, fully able to work in the profession that he previously worked in for a little bit in the past, and has some preliminary ideas about it.

The course covered both theoretical and practical aspects, and the presence of practical application equipment helped develop the areas offered in training, according to al-Issa.

He believes that these courses “will give some experience to the unemployed youth to be prepared to work in an orderly and professional manner.”

The first of its kind in Syria’s north

The vocational project of Ataa Association began more than two years ago with the construction and equipping of the institute, which was operated in collaboration with the “Spark” organization and the “Sheikh Abdullah Al-Nouri Charity Society” with 11 training workshops, according to the Technical and Vocational Training Coordinator at the Ataa Association, Burhan Bayazid.

The project targets young people between the ages of 16 to 35. The trainees are accepted after filling applications through an online link announced before the beginning of each training year.

The trainees are chosen according to several criteria, including age, educational stage, and family members, taking into account priority for orphans, disabled persons, and the breadwinners.

The project coordinator said to Enab Baladi that the institute aims to “train and qualify cadres to work in the most-needed occupations in northern Syria, on the one hand, and on the other hand to enhance experiences and create job opportunities for unemployed young people who have not completed their university education.”

She added, “We hope to improve the economic situation in the region and contribute in moving many families from being aid-based families to productive families.”

The project coordinator also mentioned that students attend three or six months of training courses, depending on the course’s duration. The students learn the principles of each workshop and practice what they have been trained on, as the project provides them with the necessary equipment.

The Institute provides trainees with a monthly grant of 40 USD, to help them continue learning and mitigate the economic challenges they face. The amount is delivered when students complete 90 percent of monthly attendance of classes and training sessions, and after recommendations from their trainer that they were active in the classroom.

Attracting experiences

Within 12 months of the project, the number of beneficiaries reached 352 male and female students. The Ataa Vocational Institute attracted many experiences of masters’ degree holders or those with long practical experience in vocational training to transfer their experience to students.

In the meantime, a professional technical trainer oversees the students, guides them, follows up their learning, and provides them with what they need.”

After the course, the top students will have the opportunity of receiving training in one of the local workshops to apply what they learned during their stay at the Institute.

The course will also provide students with additional supporting lessons, such as workshops of leadership, management, life skills, psycho social support, various activities, and sports, so that they are ready to start their private projects when they graduate from the institute.

The Ataa Vocational Institute organizes a number of courses, including electric wiring and sanitation tunnels, maintenance of electrical appliances, motorcycle, smartphones, and computers. In addition to other courses such as men’s and women’s shaving and hairdressing courses, pastry and deserts making, motor winding, and maintenance and installation of solar energy devices.

Handicrafts training courses

The “This Is My Volunteer Life” group organizes a course to teach handicrafts to the wives of martyrs and detainees.

The office manager of “This Is My Volunteer Life” group in Idlib, Saria Bitar, said, “the project’s courses will include a workshop for the making of “canvas bags” by recycling used clothes, wool knitting, and mat workshops, straw baskets, and mosaic workshops.”

The trainees will produce miniature models of symbols referring to Syrian provinces, as Bitar considers that these areas must be printed into the memory of the children of the Syrian north, whom the war denied them from seeing Homs Clock Tower, the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, and Aleppo Citadel. He added, “these Syrian landmarks represent our civilization, heritage, and Arab and Islamic legacy.”

Bitar pointed out that the workshops aim to train the workforce, especially the unemployed, who have children and no breadwinner.

He added the workshops’ products would be offered for sale at cheap prices, and their profits will be allocated to “the wives of martyrs and detainees.”

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